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What: Media intelligence and data analytics company Meltwater has acquired Cosmify, a knowledge discovery platform that uses advanced machine learning technology.
Why it matters: The fifth deal in Meltwater’s ongoing M&A streak adds machine-learning, data-science experts to in-house machine learning team.

Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and data analytics, announced the acquisition of Cosmify, a knowledge discovery platform that uses advanced machine learning technology for in-depth analysis of corporate data sets. Cosmify’s technology will help Meltwater’s industry-leading platform intelligently manage the vast amounts of data from multiple sources that businesses need to make competitive decisions based on insights from the outside.

With its fifth acquisition in less than nine months, Meltwater is quickly building on its impressive data science engine aimed at offering the most innovative and dynamic media intelligence platform in the world. With 55 offices throughout six continents, Meltwater employs more than 1,500 employees and 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies use its services to shape business decisions.

Cosmify founder Eugene Ciurana and chairman Bart Swanson launched their first machine learning company, Summly, with 16-year old founder and Oxford student Nick D’Aloisio, and sold it to Yahoo for $30 million in  2013. In 2014, the team, with co-founders Dr. Ana Nelson, Connor Goodwolf, and Sriram Krishnan, launched Cosmify. Bart Swanson of Horizons VenturesMuleSoft founder Ross Mason, and CA Technologies VP of Engineering Leonid Igolnik are part of the advisory board.

Now, after selling two companies in four years, the team is joining Meltwater’s push to build the largest AI-driven data repository in the world, giving companies a competitive edge by allowing them to leverage insights from  external data when making business decisions

“The best business decisions are based on forward-looking data. Today external data on the open internet is one of the most important sources for forward-looking information,” says Jorn Lyseggen, CEO and founder of Meltwater. “Cosmify’s advanced discovery, clustering, and classification capabilities will enhance Meltwater’s ability to connect the dots between a wide range of data types from internal and external data and ultimately help business leaders make more informed decisions.”

“95% of all data is unstructured and unwieldy, but it also contains a vast trove of unexploited value,” says Eugene Ciurana, CEO and Founder of Cosmify.  “Our unsupervised learning system extracts knowledge from internal and external, unstructured data sources like PDFs, free-text, spreadsheets, media files, presentations, cloud drives, calendars, or chat systems – most often hitting on valuable information nuggets that eluded the very users who produced them.”

“Cosmify’s knowledge discovery engine analyzes customers’ very large and dynamic data lakes to produce vectorized information, and when fed into our existing Data Science platform, automates generation of highly customized outside insights – all without having to import their internal data into our systems,” says Aditya Jami, Senior Director of Engineering & Head of AI at Meltwater.

The acquisition of Cosmify comes on the heels of several key acquisitions for Meltwater that have broadened its global footprint and cemented the company’s commitment to data science and machine learning. Meltwater recently announced its plans to acquire Canada’s Infomart, followed closely by Hong Kong-based social big data SaaS solution Klarity. Earlier this year, it acquired Oxford University spinout, Wrapidity, to add AI-based crawling to Meltwater’s platform and last year, Meltwater acquired Encore Alerts, a US-based data science driven media monitoring company.

Meltwater is actively seeking investment opportunities and partnerships to continue expanding its media intelligence services globally, with a strong emphasis on data science.

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What: Time Inc. is launching mobile-first, all-video platform INSTANT, which will feature content about the lives and projects of digital celebrities as well as content created by digital celebrities exclusively.

Why it matters: Time Inc.’s People, Entertainment Weekly and HelloGiggles will be INSTANT Launch Partners on Programming and Audience Strategy Initiatives.

laTime Inc. has announced the upcoming launch of INSTANT, a mobile-first, all-video platform featuring content about the lives and projects of digital celebrities as well as content created by digital celebrities exclusively for INSTANT.

INSTANT will deliver fresh news, features and exclusives about and by “the new famous,” the digital artists of YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, YouNow, Vine and other platforms to come. And it will be presented exactly where and how its audience consumes content – on mobile devices and video. Content will be created by the INSTANT team and by digital artists with massive followings and intense engagement with their own audiences, as well as by fast-growing emerging talent.

The INSTANT user experience will be unlike any available on mobile web today – a fluid video stream allowing the audience to engage with content immediately, intuitively and without interruption. it will deliver a native app-like experience directly in the mobile browser, with no extra download required. This will be a 100% native and branded advertising-driven product, with the ad product a seamless part of the editorial offering.

“PEOPLE, Entertainment Weekly and HelloGiggles are the perfect brands to help launch INSTANT, a tremendously future-leaning platform dedicated to an exciting new generation of creators,” said Rich Battista, President of the Time Inc. Entertainment & Sports Group and Video.

“Just as PEOPLE and EW have led and transformed celebrity and pop culture coverage for years,” said Jess Cagle, Editorial Director of PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly, “INSTANT will be the media authority on the new famous.”

“Digital artists are the most explosive and addictive phenomenon in celebrity and entertainment today,” said Will Lee, Digital Editorial Director for PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly. “INSTANT will be the first and foremost platform for and by these creators, with a beautiful new consumption experience for our audience.”

INSTANT’s dedicated production team will be led by editorial director Kirstin Benson, who will report to Will Lee, and will oversee all editorial, native and social media content for the site. Benson joins the INSTANT team from WhoSay, where she led editorial operations for nearly two years.

Daily editions of INSTANT will feature “snackable,” shareable videos—called “Instants”—across many digital verticals, including entertainment, beauty, fashion, food and social media, covered through the unique perspective of digital artists, and frequently created and curated by the digital artists themselves. INSTANT and digital celebrity content will have a significant presence in the PEOPLE and EW ecosystems – websites, social channels, and in the magazines. In addition, the platform will work closely with HelloGiggles, the female millennial brand acquired by Time Inc. in October 2015, as a premier launch partner, conceiving and producing a variety of programming, audience strategy, and experiential initiatives together throughout launch and beyond, amplifying and emphasizing HelloGiggles’ positive messaging mission.

Consumers will get a first look at INSTANT and learn more about the new product at VidCon 2016, to be held June 23-25 in Anaheim, CA.

 

 

What: VideoAmp, a screen optimization platform for the TV and video ecosystem, has raised a US$15M Series A funding round led by RTL Group.
Why it matters: This investment brings VideoAmp’s total funding to US$17.2M and will help the company rapidly accelerate development and drive adoption of its unique Optimization platform. German RTL Group is also the owner of MPN StyleHaul as well as a majority investor in video ad-trade platform SpotXchange.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based startup VideoAmp, a screen optimization platform for the TV and video ecosystem, has announced a US$15M Series A funding round led by RTL Group, the European entertainment network. This investment brings VideoAmp’s total funding to US$17.2M and will help the company rapidly accelerate development and drive adoption of its unique platform.

The new financing will help VideoAmp invest in  product development and to staff up in engineering, sales and client services. The startup expects to have about 60 people by the second quarter of 2016.VideoAmp had raised US$2.2 million in seed financing prior to the new round and had expanded its team, to 43 poeple in less than two years.

VideoAmp’s technology bridges the data divide between TV, digital, and OTT platforms. This enables the seamless planning, packaging and optimization of cross-screen audiences for the benefit of both advertisers and media owners. The company deploys machine-learning algorithms against cross-screen data within its platform to find precise audiences across all video screens, including linear TV. The technology is delivered via a suite of flexible APIs (application programming interfaces) that allows for customers and partners to build their own custom solutions on top.

“Video consumption has changed dramatically. People are constantly shifting between different apps and devices – now advertising can do the same with even more precision,” said Ross McCray, co-founder and CEO, VideoAmp. “VideoAmp is technology for the cross-screen world. We enable advertisers and content owners to transact across all screens seamlessly by enabling data for both buyers and sellers.”

“VideoAmp fits perfectly into RTL Group’s digital strategy as it is complementary to our current ad tech businesses SpotX and Clypd,” said Rhys Noelke, senior vice president strategy, RTL Group, who will also join the VideoAmp board of directors. “VideoAmp’s solutions will enable SpotX publishers to identify, target and optimize the same audience across multiple devices. The transaction with VideoAmp positions RTL Group as the first European broadcaster to invest in the increasingly important field of cross-field expertise. With this move into the digital space with VideoAmp, RTL Group strengthens the advertising technology arm of the recently created RTL Digital Hub.”

“The market has signified an urgent need to unify messaging and drive efficiency in brand advertising. This funding validates that it’s a global trend,” added Jay Prasad, chief business officer, VideoAmp.

Additional participation in the Series A funding for VideoAmp includes previous investors Anthem Venture Partners, Simon Equity Partners, Third Wave Capital, Wavemaker Partners, ZenShin Capital, and additional new investment from Startup Capital Ventures.

RTL Group’s investment in VideoAmp follows its acquisition of a majority stake in Denver-based video supply-side platform SpotXchange. as well as in YouTube multichannel video network StyleHaul and BroadbandTV and a US$19.4 million investment in programmatic TV tool Clypd.

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What: Facebook will roll out a new demand-side platform (DSP) that executes programmatic buys using the company’s “people-based” advertising methodology.

Why it matters: The product will be released in 2016’s first half and become Facebook’s fourth ad platform as the social net today has ad server (Atlas), sell-side platform (LiveRail) and ad network (Audience Network).

24aaffa670e634a7da9a087bfa83abe6_400x400Facebook is about to roll out a demand-side platform (DSP) able to execute programmatic buys using the company’s “people-based” advertising methodology.

The DSP product was pitched a few weeks ago by Facebook’s Atlas team only to agency partners: Omnicom Group, Havas, Merkle and other target advertisers to see if they are willing to commit upwards of US$200,000 to test the product.

The product will be released in 2016’s first half and will be Facebook’s fourth ad platform as the social net today has ad server (Atlas), sell-side platform (LiveRail) and ad network (Audience Network).

Facebook suggest the new product has a stronger identity management than anything in market today, including its rival, Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager.

Since Atlas launch a year ago, Facebook DSP has looked likely as Atlas seemed capable of overturning the ad server category.However, result but its debut has not been as triumphant as the company might have hoped. Facebs were not as expected. Facebook failed  to provide a tally of agencies and marketers using it, and very few customers have been identified by name.

In addition, Google has become aware of the “people-based” risk posed by its challenger since Atlas’ launch. A few months ago, Google began supporting cross-device measurement in its DoubleClick Marketing Suite, using a combination of logged-in user data and so-called probabilistic approaches, which use device attributes to link users to their various screens.

DoubleClick has also embraced first-party data matching, which has long been on offer through Facebook’s Custom Audiences program and which has Google has been avoiding until now.

Facebook has then quite a challenge to level its main rival, as well as other scaled DSP solutions in the marketplace like MediaMath and Turn, if it wants to become a full-stack ad tech offering.

What: With LiveRail and the Oracle Data Management Platform help, Hulu will start selling ads programmatically across its platforms on desktop, mobile and connected TVs.
Why it matters: Streaming video platform’s LiveRail-powered private ad exchange will let brands target audiences with the Oracle DMP.

fdHeHGpV_400x400From this fall onwards, Hulu will start selling ads programmatically across its platforms on desktop, mobile and connected TVs with Facebook’s video advertising platform, LiveRail, and the Oracle Data Management Platform (DMP) help.

Owned by Fox, NBCUniversal and Disney,the service will add programmatic ad tech in its sales processes. Advertisers will be able to combine their first-party data with third-party data for ad targeting to offer granular personalization coupled with reach and scale.

LiveRail will power the private ad marketplace in which Hulu sales teams will be able to transact direct premium video deals programmatically with real-time optimizations.

“The marketplace has shown that data is overwhelmingly the new currency,” said Peter Naylor, SVP of Advertising at Hulu, in a statement. “With this new offering, Hulu is at the forefront of defining ‘programmatic’ for the digital video ecosystem and will increase efficiency and ROI for marketers.”

What: Programmatic audio advertising platform Jelli has raised a US$21 million Series B funding round, bringing the platform total funding to US$37.6 million.The proceeds from the round will be further invested in powering two major partnerships: the launch of ExpressWay for national sales firm Katz ­­and a private audio exchange partnership with iHeartMedia.
Why it matters: Programmatic audio advertising for broadcasters is still an immature market: roughly 4 trillion audio ads run every year in the United States, but most of the ads in radio and audio are handled in traditional ways.  “This financing round is about preparing for a significant shift, where both traditional radio broadcasting and digital audio advertising all start to become programmatic,” said Mike Dougherty, CEO of Jelli.

logoJelli, a programmatic audio advertising platform, has raised a US$21 million Series B funding round  led by Relay Ventures, Intel Capital, First Round Capital, iHeartMedia and Universal Music Group. This round brings the platform total funding to US$37.6 million.

The  takings raised in the round will be invested in supporting two major partnerships forged this year: one  is the launch of ExpressWay from Katz ( from Katz Media Group)­­, an audio ad exchange powered by Jelli’s platform. The other is a private audio exchange partnership with iHeartMedia.These partnerships offer advertisers and publishers a SaaS platform to buy and sell radio advertising programmatically.

Jelli has been focusing primarily on rolling out these partnerships for the past six months. According to Mike Dougherty, CEO of Jelli, these efforts have generated significant growth. Prior to the partnerships, Jelli’s platform hosted 400 radio stations in 100 cities in the United States.Today, more than 830 radio stations use Jelli’s platform in more than 250 cities. Over the past year, Jelli has run several hundred ad campaigns for advertisers and agencies.

Programmatic audio advertising for broadcasters is still an immature market: roughly 4 trillion audio ads run every year in the United States, but most of the ads in radio and audio are handled in traditional ways.

Dougherty said programmatic audio advertising for broadcasters is still an immature market: roughly 4 trillion audio ads run every year in the United States, but most of the ads in radio and audio are handled in traditional ways, he said.

descarga“We’re trying to bring programmatic to audio and radio.The product developments we’ll be doing with this round include significant investments in data management and data services, and more services for advertisers and agencies to plug into these exchanges,” said Dougherty. “There really isn’t a robust DSP for audio and we think there should be,” he added while pointing the fact that digital streaming and radio broadcast buyers alike could benefit from an audio DSP to leverage proprietary or licensed data to inform their audio buys.

“This financing round is about preparing for a significant shift, where both traditional radio broadcasting and digital audio advertising all start to become programmatic and sold through these exchanges,” Dougherty said. “Programmatic audio is evolving rapidly on all sides of the equation and, at some point, we won’t see a siloed approach between broadcast and digital.”

That broadcast/digital divide has been audio advertisers looking for scale ‘s main concern. Dougherty said its partnership with iHeartMedia is helping to clear that barrier. The broadcast giant hosts 245 million listeners in the United States per month, including 97 million monthly digital uniques, making it the largest radio outlet in the nation.

Programmatic advertising for broadcast

Programmatic advertising for broadcast is still a big challenge, as this is an industry niche that is still being shaped. According to Dougherty, radio scoops up US$1 of every US$10 of US ad budgets, but it’s the other US$9 that get all the attention in the programmatic development space.

“There’s a lot of investment in programmatic around digital and around video,” he said. “Getting the word out that audio is now programmatic is the next challenge we all face.”

In spite of the challenges, Dougherty said they’ve seen high demand from advertisers to buy broadcast audio ads programmatically. He strongly expects the profile of prospective clients to diversify.

“We’re seeing demand primarily from traditional radio advertisers and agencies who buy radio because this is a better way of executing, but we’re also going to see programmatic agencies and trading desks get involved, which is incremental demand because they’re not buying radio today. Our partners are sold out of whatever inventory they’re providing to the buy side,” Dougherty said.

Demand has been booming, as a matter of fact.Looking ahead to the next 12 months, Jelli will continue to scale its tech and bring more advertisers and inventory onto its platform and into its partner exchanges.

“ “As the technology platform supporting all those segments, we have to be ready for that,” said Dougherty.

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